Water quality issues in Germany and the UK – similarities and differences
by Siegfried Gendries with additional input by Cath Hassell
In the UK it is an offence to supply water unfit for human consumption under Section 70 of the Water Industry Act (1991) and similar legislation applies in Germany. Water supplied to buildings must be pure and suitable for drinking purposes without any health risks, containing neither pathogens nor other substances in health-damaging concentrations. To meet this legislation water suppliers deliver a constantly controlled drinking water supply, but their responsibility ends at the building boundary/water meter. Beyond this point the building owner or operator becomes responsible for the in-house drinking water supply system. While the water is transported by the utility company over many kilometres, usually with no deterioration in quality, sometimes only a few metres of pipework and associated fixtures and fittings within the building are enough to make the water no longer potable. Therefore, the last few metres are important to reduce risks but are not adequately covered by legislation.